PREP TIME = 15 mins
COOK TIME = 30 mins
TOTAL TIME = 45 mins
achari paneer recipe – creamy as well as robust flavored paneer gravy with achari masala or pickling spices.
CUISINE: north indian
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
- 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
- 1 tsp mustard seeds/rai or sarson
- ½ tsp nigella seeds/kalonji
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds/methi dana
- 200 to 250 grams paneer, choppped in cubes or squares
- 1 cup fresh whole milk curd, 240 grams
- 5 tsp ginger-green chili paste or ½ inch ginger + 1 or 2 green chilies
- 2 dry red chilies
- a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing
- 1 medium tomato, chopped about ⅓ cup tightly packed chopped tomatoes, 75 to 80 grams of tomatoes
- 10 to 12 cashews or 2 tbsp cashews or 2 tbsp cashew powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp cumin powder (optional)
- 1 or 2 tsp of mango pickle masala (optional)
- 1 to 1.5 tbsp besan
- ½ tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves
- 3 tbsp low fat cream
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil or sunflower oil or mustard oil or ghee
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tsp chopped mint leaves
- salt as required
roasting pickling spices:
- first take the achari or pickling spices in a pan – 1 tsp fennel seeds/saunf, 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera, 1 tsp mustard seeds/rai or sarson, ½ tsp nigella seeds/kalonji and ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds/methi dana.
- heat the pan and on a low flame roast the spices till they are fragrant. don’t brown them.
- once cooled, add the spices in a small dry grinder or spice grinder and grind to a semi fine powder.
- remove the achari masala powder and keep aside in a bowl.
rest of the preparation:
- in the same grinder, add 10 to 12 cashews.
- grind to a fine powder. if oil releases while grinding then its fine.
- in a bowl, take 1 cup fresh whole milk curd/yogurt and whisk it till smooth. use fresh curd and not sour curd.
- heat 2 tbsp mustard oil or sunflower oil or ghee in a pan.
- on a low flame, add 2 dry red chilies and a generous pinch of asafoetida. saute for some seconds till the red chilies change color.
- then add 1.5 tsp ginger-green chili paste – about ½ inch ginger + 1 or 2 green chilies crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle. stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger goes away.
- then add ⅓ cup tightly packed chopped tomatoes.
- stir and add ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder, ½ tsp coriander powder and ¼ tsp cumin powder (optional).
- again stir very well and saute the tomatoes till the tomatoes soften completely and become pulpy. you should also see oil releasing from the sides.
- now add the cashew powder. if using store brough cashew powder, then add 2 tbsp cashew powder. do check the shelf life of store brought cashew powder before adding.
- on a low to medium flame, stir and saute the mixture for 2 minutes after adding cashew powder.
- reserve 1 tsp of the ground achari masala and add the rest. stir very well.
- add 1 tbsp besan. we are adding besan so that the curd does not curdle.
- stir the besan very well and incorporate it into the rest of the masala.
- keep the flame on a low and add the beaten curd.
- as soon as you add the curd, begin to stir the mixture quickly and fast. stirring quickly, incorporate the curd well into the rest of the masala.
- add salt as per taste.
- simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame.
- add the paneer cubes. 200 or 250 grams paneer chopped in cubes.
- cook the paneer cubes for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- then add 3 tbsp low fat fresh cream and ½ tsp kasuri methi, which has been crushed. stir very well.
- switch off the flame and add 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and 1 tsp chopped mint leave & stir again.
- while serving sprinkle the reserved achari masala from top and garnish with a coriander or mint sprig. serve achari paneer with tandoori rotis, chapatis or naan.